It’s no secret that the world of digital marketing can be complicated with all the diverse programs and strategies used to promote products and services in the online world. Confusion often results when determining the difference between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and how each of these strategies benefit website traffic.

SEO is about assisting your website in ranking organically or naturally on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Your website must earn its way to the first page of a SERP by your website having positive attributes in terms of coding, content, structure and other factors. SEO requires time to be successful, and is dependent on keywords and competition. SEO cannot be purchased from the search engine — the spots need to be earned though strategic implementations. Basically, the idea is to make an investment in the health of your website, resulting in increase ranking performance.

SEM, on the other hand, is a quick and effective way to have your website appear on the SERPs by simply paying a fee to be there. On Google, this is known as Google Adwords. There are a few different ways to advertise on SERPs. The most common way is by Pay Per Click (PPC) in which you set up a daily budget with the search engine and only pay when a user clicks on your ad. The other option is to pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM) regardless of clicks.

SEM is a great way to focus on your ideal target market. You control when and where your ads appear in the geography of your choice. The comprehensive reporting offers insight into all your marketing effects as you can determine which keywords your clients are associating with your business.

So which digital marketing option is better at driving results? A combination of SEO and SEM is recommended. While SEO will benefit your website overall, SEM can target additional keywords and portions of your business — they work together very well. Also, when improving both campaigns, you can take up two spots on the first page of the SERP, which is prime real estate for your website.

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